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Let me preface this by saying I did not attend West Point, nor did I go to Annapolis. While I choose to root for Army, I do not consider myself a fan of West Point athletics at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a single West Point game where the opponent wasn’t Navy. That being said, the Army-Navy game is the greatest rivalry match in all of college football.
I know some of you scoffed at that last sentence. That’s understandable. We aren’t talking about Alabama-Auburn here, and I agree with that. While the players at Alabama and Auburn may be more skilled, there’s more to a good rivalry than the players’ performance on the field.
The tradition of the Army-Navy rivalry is arguably the single factor that makes this rivalry the greatest. While the Army and Navy themselves have essentially had a rivalry since 1775, these two service academies have duked it out on the gridiron since 1890 (and consecutively since 1930). Even during periods of conflict, including the Second World War, they have played the game.
The enthusiasm that comes with this rivalry is unprecedented. Soldiers and sailors throughout the world–even those who didn’t attend either academy–are involved. Students and alumni alike make hilarious videos promoting their team leading up to the game. Take a look:
On social media, fans show their spirit as well. You might see some officers replace their name tapes on their uniforms with custom ones that say BEAT NAVY. You might see cadets posting statuses like, “It’s December 10, 2014, and Navy still sucks.” That, of course, is all in good fun.
Most importantly, the Army-Navy game is the greatest rivalry because it is a friendly rivalry. Sure, things get kind of heated, but in the end, the game is the embodiment of the phrase “One Team One Fight.” Though it is a bitter rivalry, when it comes down to it, fans of both teams continue to work with and support each other in operations all around the world. That’s something you won’t find anywhere else in college football.
Even if you disagree with me, you have to agree that in the end, the Army-Navy game is an American tradition that truly demonstrates the spirit of our Armed Forces. Make sure to catch the game this Saturday, and, of course, Go Army! Beat Navy!.
Image via Faecbook